I have always been a big advocate that taking pleasure in eating is important for everyone- especially when people are trying to lose weight. At first, some clients find it sounds counter intuitive and they may try embracing the motto eat to live rather than live to eat. HOWEVER, if you are as “live to eat” kind of person, changing this personality trait is a huge task, especially when you are also changing so many other things in your life to try to lose weight. Often, my clients who “love” to eat (foodies!) or who believe they should not want their favorite foods while trying to manage their weight, end up feeling guilty when they eat certain foods (usually high calorie, high fat or high sugar foods).
Some people believe that guilt will help to motivate them not to eat certain foods, however, I have always felt that my clients who are the most guilt-ridden tend to over eat more. There has been a lot of reserach on this topic of reducing guilt to help improve eating habits- and there is another one fresh off the press!
The study found that guilt did not motivate people to change. In fact, people who reported more guilt when eating cake, felt they had less control over their over-eating. They also were less successful at losing weight! Imagine that, the very “tool” some people feel helps them (or should help others) lose weight, actually did the opposite. This is why so many dietitians advocate that “all foods can fit” into a healthy diet, even when you are trying to manage your weight.
You can read the article abstract, Chocolate Cake: Guilt or Celebration? Associations with Healthy Eating Attitudes, Perceived Behavioural Control, Intentions and Weight-loss, here.